Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Creating a Blank Canvas

For the past 13 years I have been struggling with my yard. It was probably back in the 80's when the house was originally constructed that the 1st owners decided to landscape the back yard. Since the house was built on a slope, they divided the yard into an upper part and a lower part. The lower part was developed to look like a typical yard with grass and a tree. The upper part they xeriscaped to be more appropriate for the desert environment. The only problem was that it was more "zeroscaped" than xeriscaped. The difference is that you embrace native drought-tolerant plants in xeriscaping while you just dump a bunch of rock in zeroscaping. They also planted cactus and cholla which is the stupidest thing in the world. Nothing makes an ares less inviting than putting in a bunch of plants that can draw blood. The whole "2 yards" approach also essentially made half of the area unusable. I set out to change that.

It has been a slow and tedious project. My motivation wanes and waxes with the seasons. There have been many fits and starts. Lately I have been gung ho. Hopefully that will continue. I'm trying to approach the project in stages. First I got rid of a very large cholla. That took a few months a couple of years ago. Then I made a run at a large agave. A massive root has stalled that. The most recent effort has been devoted to removing all of the rock. I have been doing it a shovelful at a time. If I can clear out a few square feet a day, I will be making progress. I have been sifting out the rock from the sand by hand, using a small screen. The rock is resting on top of a plastic barrier which also must be pulled up. It's futile to put down a barrier in these parts. Every Spring you will get a large amount of dust blowing in. In a short time you will essentially have a soil layer which weeds will just love. Now you have a bunch of weeds growing between the rock just as if there was no barrier at all.

Every night when I go to the upper yard I keep envisioning what it will look like when all of the rock and weeds will be gone. Once I get to that point, it will be time to tackle the ugly 4' wall made of railroad ties. I'm envisioning a tiered block wall that would also act as an inviting stairway. At the top of the stairway there will be a nice small patio area with a firepit. Of course the icing on the cake will be gorgeous views of the mountains to the east. Stay tuned!

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